How do I get very smart

psychology Can you learn intelligence?

Scientists and laypeople have wondered whether something can be done about an IQ value, and not just since the Flynn effect was discovered. First, comparisons of IQ test results showed that people in the western industrialized countries performed better and better in intelligence tests over the course of the 20th century. However, since the turn of the millennium, the effect seems to be reversing again. Now the average intelligence is apparently declining. So does intelligence depend on the education system or on nutrition? Do environmental toxins like pesticides influence the IQ or are genes to blame after all?

Stefan Schmukle is professor for personality psychology at the University of Leipzig. He knows from the research results of colleagues: "Intelligence is influenced by both genes and environmental factors." For example, a study was able to show: The extension of compulsory schooling increases the average IQ of students. Norway had gradually extended school hours in various school districts. When the scientists compared the IQ scores of the graduates, it was found that those who stayed in school longer did better on the IQ test.

However, genes also play a major role. To show this, researchers looked at identical twins who had been separated at birth. They saw that although the genetically almost identical pairs had grown up in completely different environments, they showed very similar results in the intelligence test.

Many scientists now assume that the hereditary part of intelligence even increases in the course of life. The reason for this is that adults can freely choose their environmental conditions to a certain extent. People who are very intelligent thanks to their genes therefore tend to choose living environments that allow their intelligence to develop. Conversely, less intelligent people seek simpler environments.

It is sometimes difficult to find out who is intelligent at all. Because the IQ tests do not reveal all types of cognitive performance skills. Creativity, for example, is not captured by most tests. Munich researchers showed that their performance diagnoses often overlooked multifaceted or multi-talented people.

Parents in particular often want their children to be very intelligent. Data from researchers make this wish all the more understandable. Long-term observation of gifted children in the USA showed that these children were often very successful professionally and financially.

On the other hand, studies with gifted people also come to the conclusion that gifted people can definitely be a burden. For example, those affected often report difficulties with classmates or teachers and the feeling that they do not belong because they are different.

If you ask yourself whether you might be gifted, you can find out by taking an IQ test from the highly gifted Mensa Association. Mensa regularly organizes tets in various major German cities.